Our ongoing series of Member Spotlights highlights the great work that our members are doing across their fields in Hawaii. Christine Sakuda of Transform Hawaii Government (THG) is a local organization that seeks to improve and modernize the Hawaii state government.
You can learn more about the organization here:
THG has hosted multiple events here at Impact Hub HNL, and we look forward to hosting more of these interesting and progressive events about how to improve our government from the ground up! Follow our Facebook events page to keep up to date.
I chatted with Christine over email and asked her to tell me more about the work that THG is doing, and why it’s so important.
Andrea B (AB): Can you tell me a little bit more about Transform Hawaii Government?
Christine Sakuda (CS): Transform Hawaii Government (THG) advocates for modernization of state government services so that such services can be provided to the public, Hawaii businesses, and even government officials and employees themselves in an efficient, transparent, and meaningful way. Modernization also helps increase availability and access to electronic data, promoting data-based decision-making in shaping Hawaii’s future.
AB: Tell me a little bit more about you – how did this become your role/passion/career?
CS: I’ve been working in the technology transformation space since 1997, starting off in healthcare and recently transitioning to state government with THG. For 15 years, I’ve worked for non-profit organizations, being the first executive director for the most recent organizations: the Hawaii Health Information Exchange and THG. I do not have a formal education in technology but learned on the job, and believe that technology can be a powerful tool to help solve problems and deliver services.
AB: What are some of the biggest issues you see with our state government?
CS: State departments and agencies have traditionally focused on their own department goals in a decentralized manner. These departments matured during a time when technology was nascent, heavily customized, and not user-friendly. Since then, there have been huge advancements in technology that allows for more enterprise (statewide) planning and systems integration to occur; many of these advancements have brought data to the fingertips of mobile device users, but not yet to our government agencies. Citizens expect the state government to keep pace with these advancements and make best efforts to leverage new technologies to deliver services in more efficient and convenient ways.
AB: What can Hawaii citizens do to get more involved in government and transparency?
CS: THG encourages interested individuals to join the THG coalition through our website to stay informed on the state’s progress towards IT modernization as well as learn how to become more active, such as testifying in support of key legislation that advances these efforts.
AB: Can you tell me more about your events that you’ve hosted here?
CS: THG hosted a series of talk story sessions at Impact Hub Honolulu focused on key themes of state modernization: a state IT strategic plan, modernizing infrastructure, open data, cyber-security and more. Impact Hub HNL is an ideal, central venue to bring together subject matter experts and state leadership to discuss these topics to raise awareness of challenges and discuss opportunities for improvement potentially through public policy.
AB: What upcoming events can we look forward to in 2019?
CS: THG’s speaker series will be returning to Impact Hub HNL in the New Year. We are in the process of developing our 2019 calendar of events and will announce upcoming speaker series topics on our website and through our newsletter. We plan to raise our speaker series to the next level in 2019 by hosting more panel discussions that move these discussions forward. For more information on these events, including Facebook Live video of past presentations, visit our site and select “Events.”
Thanks, Christine, for taking the time to chat with us!